The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way the world functions. Several nations are facing an economic crisis they are forced to impose lockdowns in order to stop the spread of the disease.
Retail has been crushed by the coronavirus pandemic, which has closed real-world shops, disrupted supply chains, and left more than 36 million Americans jobless.
The devastating effect of the crisis can also be seen in small businesses as real-world shops find it difficult to survive in the current situation.
In a bid to help small businesses, Facebook has come up with ‘Facebook Shops.’
Recently, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook was launching the new feature that will enable small businesses to set up shops and sell their products directly through Instagram and Facebook.
What are Facebook shops?
Facebook shops are online storefronts that will allow small business merchants to sell their products on the core platforms owned by Facebook Inc. The virtual storefronts will be visible on the Facebook page or Instagram profile.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “the basic idea is that any small business can easily start a shop to sell things directly across our apps. If you visit someone’s shop, you’ll be able to see that small business’s story, see their featured products, and buy them in our apps.”
The purpose behind the move
The purpose of the new feature will be to help small businesses move online since it is hard for physical storefronts to operate in the current situation.
Zuckerberg writes, “I think this is particularly important right now because so many small businesses are moving online to deal with the economic fallout from Covid-19. As people are being told to stay home, physical storefronts are having a hard time staying open and millions of people are losing their jobs.”
Setting up a Facebook Shop
This virtual shop can be set up for free. Shops will allow the sellers to select the products they are willing to feature. They may also customize their shop’s looks with a suitable cover image and accent colors.
How to shop on Facebook Shops?
You can find the virtual shop on the Facebook page or the Instagram profile of a business. Simply go throw the store collection and save the products you want. You may place your order either on the app or on the business’ website.
Zuckerberg further writes, “Shops are native and fast, which means no more app-switching to a slow mobile web browser where you have to reenter your credit card when you tap on an interesting product you see in feeds.”
Facebook Shops allow customers to message the business through Messenger, Whatsapp, or Instagram Direct for support and inquiries.
The feature will also be available on WhatsApp and Messenger
The feature will soon be available on Messenger and WhatsApp as well. Moreover, Facebook is also working with various third party services including Shopify, BigCommerce, and CedCommerce. The purpose of these partnerships is to enable small businesses to “easily integrate into a strong, open ecosystem of tools to help them manage their customer journey end-to-end, and it’s up to the business to decide what level of integration they want.”
More promising features in the future
Apart from this, Facebook will be introducing several other features across its platforms that will help buyers discover items sold by small businesses.
Facebook is also working on a dedicated shopping tab on Instagram and Live shopping features across Facebook and Instagram (that will allow real-time shopping).
Zuckerberg further informed, “Lastly, in the near future Shops will use our AI and augmented reality tech to create better shopping experiences.”
He wrote, “We’ll automatically identify and tag products in feeds so people can easily click-through to purchase when they find things they like. Small businesses will also be able to personalize their storefronts to first show products that are most relevant to you and use augmented reality to let you virtually try on things like sunglasses, lipstick or makeup to see how they might look on you before buying, or what furniture might look like in your room.”
Facebook Shops are already being rolled out in the US. Instagram rollout will also happen soon.
The social media and technology company is expecting to roll out this feature globally in the next few months.